Tennis

Robredo beats Almagro in 4th round of French Open

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PARIS (AP)

Tommy Robredo of Spain became the first man in 86 years to rally from two sets down in three consecutive Grand Slam victories.

Ranked 470th a year ago, Robredo reached the quarterfinals of the French Open for the first time since 2009 by stunning 11th-seeded Nicolas Almagro 6-7 (5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in an all-Spanish match on Sunday.

Frenchman Henri Cochet is the only other man who achieved the feat, winning three matches in a row at Wimbledon in 1927.

''You know, nobody dreams of doing such things,'' Robredo said. ''What one dreams of is to reach quarterfinals, but not such a nightmare that is a five-setter. What I accomplished was very difficult, very complicated.''

A former top-10 player, Robredo missed the French Open the past two years because of a nagging left leg injury that required surgery.

''I've already erased that from my mind,'' Robredo said. ''Obviously it was an experience that I had to go through, and in life all the experiences are good. I think that you learn a lot more from a bad experience than from a good one, no? So from that one I learned a lot, and right now I'm enjoying it a lot more every time I win a match.

''Maybe some years ago I wouldn't have fought for each point, whereas today I do this on each point. When I was injured, I was not even thinking that I could be back, that I could play on the Lenglen court or Chatrier court.''

Robredo will play another Spaniard in fourth-seeded David Ferrer, who eliminated No. 23 Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-3, 6-1, 6-1.

Overwhelmed by his emotions, Robredo fell to his knees and broke into tears as the crowd chanted: ''Tommy, Tommy.'' His father, Angel, was a big fan of The Who and named his son after the group's musical ''Tommy.''

''I really like it when I see that the crowd is getting mad,'' Robredo said. ''They're shouting, they're motivating us, they're supporting us.''

Almagro then blew leads of 4-1 in the third set, 4-2 in the fourth and 2-0 in the fifth. In the final set, he made an unforced error in the ninth game to drop serve. Robredo clinched victory when his opponent hit a backhand volley into the net.

''He was very consistent,'' Almagro said, ''I had my ups and downs. These ups and downs cost me the match. I think Tommy produced a remarkable, admirable game. I have every respect for what he did.''

Robredo was also a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros in 2003, `05, `07 and `09. Last year, he finished outside the top 100 for the first time in 12 years. He won a clay-court tournament in Morocco in April.

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